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Breaking & building habits – Word before the worLd

I continue to take a look at the habits in my life. The thing about bad habits is how they can sometimes form with such little effort and feel so difficult to break. Yet, the ones most beneficial to us take considerable energy to develop and we break with ease.

I listened to a sermon series by Craig Groeschel titled Habits. He shared that by Valentine’s Day, 92% of people have quit their New Year’s goals and resolutions.

I wrote a post in case you missed it titled 6 steps to fail proof goals and habits.

Apparently, I live and write in themes. You know that about me by now I think.

A Slip of Habit

Over the last several months I’ve felt my morning quiet times becoming stale.

“Staleness is an indication of something out of joint with God.”

Oswald Chamber, My Utmost For His Highest

I’ve not heard God with the same clarity. I’ve approached my time with Him like any other ordinary task, something to be checked off a long to-do list.

As I listened to this full series, I began to think about my morning habits. In the past nothing came before the Lord and my time with Him. But now, I reach for my phone to see what time it is. I brush my teeth and scan my phone to see what I missed while I slept. I walk to to the coffee pot, I scan Instagram. Are there notifications or messages I missed in the night?

I pour my coffee, grab my Bible, pick up my phone and respond to messages, scroll for a minute, decide what I need to post, think about my day. Then I see the time. Where did all that time go? My quiet time is nearing an end without me giving my fullness to listening to God. So, I quickly open my Bible, pray, read, journal, and basically squeeze God into the tiny space left over after checking in with the world first.

It’s a habit I’ve created unintentionally.

The exact opposite of how I’ve always treated and protected this time and space.

“Guard jealously your relationship to God.”

Oswald Chamber, My Utmost For His Highest

I’ve been placing the world before the Word.

It starts with a decision

I knew what needed to be done.

I made a decision that God would receive my all in time. God would get the very first of my time, energy, and focus. He will receive my first and best.

When we make a decision to step back on the right path, it won’t come easy. The enemy is there distracting. So we fight.

The morning following my decision to break this habit, my eyes opened and I saw His Word first thing on my pillowcase. It was the reminder I needed about the decision I made.

Word before world.

I read the verse on my pillow and repeated over and over again, “Word before world.” I prayed before stepping out of my bed. “Lord give me strength to give you my first fruit time and energy and focus today. Set my feet on your path. I surrender.”

Surrendering the old

Before I can create a new habit, I must surrender the old. I open my hands and raise them to Him.

Surrender. The word God gave me for 2019. The word I didn’t seek or ask for. In His mercy He delivered anyway.

The world brings distraction and chaos and worry. His Word brings peace, love, and comfort.

What have I been doing to my soul?

With each step of my morning quiet time, I realized how firmly rooted this bad habit had grown. I had to force my mind back to Him. My hand wanted to reach for my phone so I put it in another room so I couldn’t cheat and pick it back up.

It wasn’t easy, which showed me this is a fight worth waging. I already knew that though.

Do you know what happened that morning? I received a fresh word from God. I received clarity on some worries I’ve been holding. My mind felt more stable and calm.

My King never left. He was there speaking all along. I’d just filled my eyes and ears with sounds and images that shut Him out.

The enemy steals in the stealthiest ways. Therefore, we guard. We protect. We choose. We aren’t victims of our habits. We own our choices. It’s not easy, but in His strength we can break the habits needing breaking and create the habits waiting to move in their place.

I once heard a sermon about the idols in our lives. He said when we discover an idol and decide to remove it, we must replace it with something good. Otherwise, that empty spot will find something eventually. Well, he said it better than that, but you get the picture.

We have the power to choose.

Here’s the steps I’m taking.

  • Place my phone in the bathroom at night rather than my nightstand.
  • I use my watch to tell me the time (what an antiquated idea. Ha!)
  • I look at my pillow and remember to pray and start in the Word.
  • I pray before getting out of bed to set my mind and heart on Him.
  • I preset the coffee pot the night before.
  • I have all my Bible study materials ready in my spot before going to bed.
  • When my quiet time is up, I check my phone. But I have to walk to another room to get it.

Just little tweaks and changes to help me stay the course.


Maybe you are like me and need visual reminders to fix your gaze on Jesus first thing in the morning.

Maybe you’d like to break your habit of checking in with the world with the first of your day via Facebook, Instagram, the news, email, whatever the source may be.

Maybe you are like me and you are tired of starting your day from a place of anxiety, worry, and fear and you are ready to claim the peace He promises if we seek Him first.

If you could use help in this area, I have one small tool that is helping me. Scripture pillowcases.

It’s the trigger I need to force my mind back to the decision I’ve made to start in the Word. I see His Word with the first and last of my day now. I pray that verse as I literally rest on His Word. Then I get up renewed by His strength, ready to stay focused on creating new, better habits.

You can see the full collection on my shop page right here. Do you want a custom verse? I do that too.

 

If you’d like to receive posts in your inbox, simply click here. It’s the best way to be sure to see all posts without the distraction of scrolling social media to find them. Insert winking emoji.

Let’s keep marching towards our most intentional year ever!!

How This Could Be Your Best Gift + A Sale

Recently, I overhead a conversation about how hard it is to start the day with God. We have good intentions, but the world grabs us via our phones before the Word ever has a chance. It hit me.

What we need most this year is the Word before the world.

When we give our first attention of the day to the phone screen,

  • we invite chaos into our soul right away.
  • We invite stress to precede His promise of peace.
  • We open the door to worry and anxiety.
  • Our to-do list speaks to us before the Creator of the universe utters His first whisper in our ear.

He begins to speak, but the world, through our phone, screams louder.

Why Scripture Pillowcases?

With a scripture pillowcase, we can wake up with His Word right before our eyes. Before we reach for the screen, His Word is speaking to us, and we see it.

So I’m reminded to start with Him. His Word draws me in before the world pulls me away.

My head lays right on His Word. How better to start and end our day?

So many people say to me they want to have a steady quiet time, but it’s a struggle. They say once they check a few emails, scroll Facebook, or read the news, the opportunity for time with the Lord is gone.

This is where I want to help. Starting and ending our day centered on Him changes everything.

So what if you give someone something they are already using, but now you’ve filled it with meaning and spiritual intentionality?

When you give a scripture pillowcase,

  • you remind them they are known and loved.
  • you give them something thoughtful, meaningful, and intentional.
  • you give them something they will treasure forever
  • you give them something that will continue to give back for years to come.

When I began writing about intentional living, Deuteronomy held the verses that guided my choices.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

Deuteronomy 6:5-9

When we lie down and when we get up. This is why I’ve created these pillowcases. I’m taking this verse, this command, seriously. My hope is to give you a tool to help you make this a reality in your home and the homes of the people you care about.

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday.

Whatever day you are shopping, I wanted to offer you 10% off plus free shipping now through November 27th.

Stock up now on gifts beyond Christmas. It’s a great time to go ahead and fill your gift stash for the holidays that creep up on you.

Use coupon code cyber10 for 10% off and cyberfreeship for free shipping. You can combine the coupons!!

By far the most popular item in our shop is the scripture pillowcase.

The last day to place an order for Christmas delivery is December 10th.

These would make the perfect gift for all the teachers on your list. Or your Bible study friends. Put them in your kid’s stocking. Give one to your mom, sister, best friend.

They are perfect as a stand-alone gift. They are also special paired with a prayer journal and fun pens. Or a coffee mug and a favorite book.

Here are a few items you might enjoy adding to your scripture pillowcase gifts.

 

Prayer Journal

Journaling Pens

 

Inspirational Mug